Upholstery Buying Guide

Buying a Sofa or Chair

Buying the perfect sofa or chair means finding the ideal combination of style, comfort, quality and value for money. Our simple buying guide will help you make the right choice.

How to choose your new sofa or chair

Think about the look you’re after. The colour, shape and style of your upholstery will have a huge impact on the look and feel of your room.

With many different sofa and chair styles to choose from, in many more sizes, colours, leathers and fabrics, our range has something for everyone.

Choose the right shape, support and comfort. We will be more than happy to explain the different qualities of all our sofas. Here are some of the key things to consider:


This gives the sofa its shape and structure. Our frames are tough, strong and durable to cope with demands of everyday life.


Our sofas have a number of different support systems, from traditional springs and webbing to serpentine or zigzag springs and sprung edges.


This is the ‘comfort layer’. There are 3 choices:

  1. Foam
  2. This gives the firmest feel and retains its looks best. Manufacturers of traditional furniture prefer foam fillings.

  3. Fibre
  4. A man-made synthetic filling usually wrapped in ‘ticking’. Offers medium to soft comfort, depending on the density of the filling. Cushions must be plumped daily to retain their shape.

  5. Feathers
  6. A soft, luxurious option, these cushions must be plumped daily to keep their shape and comfort. If you like the feather effect but are allergic to feather fillings, we will help you find a soft alternative.

    Sometimes you will find a mix of fillings - foam cushions with a fibre wrap, or feather cushions with a foam core.

Choosing the right cover

We’ve got a fantastic range of sofas and chairs in fabric and leather. Here’s a brief guide to the pros and cons of different covers:

  1. Leather (hide)
  2. Only leather upholstery can claim to improve with time, developing a character all of its own. Leather wears in, fabric wears out. Each hide is unique and there are several different treatments to create different looks.

    Corrected grain leather is particularly durable, easy to care for, and excellent for a family environment. Semi-analine leather is very soft, bringing a real sumptuous feel to your furniture. Analine shows off the natural features of the hide and is very soft to the touch.

  3. Fabric
  4. Fabric sofas can have loose or fixed covers.

    Loose covers are usually made from natural fibres such as 100% cotton. These can be removed and machine washed at low temperatures or professionally cleaned. They’re often more casual in style, though those held in place on the frame cover by Velcro give a more tailored look. Many people choose an extra set of covers so they can ring the changes without the expense of brand new furniture.

    You have a much wider choice of fabrics for fixed covers including formal velvets, soft chenilles, hard wearing microfibres, faux suedes and woven designs. Fixed covers are usually more tailored in style and can’t be removed. Even cushions of fixed cover suites shouldn’t be washed.

Choose your recliner option

Many of our sofas and chairs, both fabric and leather, recline for ultimate relaxation. You can have recliner actions at either end of a sofa as long as there is an arm.

Some recliners are manual, operated by a handle or catch just below the arm. Others have electric recliner controls, where you can adjust your position with your fingertip.

Your sofa buying checklist

  1. Measure carefully!
  2. Before you order, please make sure your chosen sofa will fit your room and can be manoeuvered into your house. Some of our larger items come apart for delivery, so ask us for help if you’re worried. Once your furniture is in production, we can’t accept your cancellation without a charge.

  3. Try before you buy
  4. Visit our store to see all our ranges, test them for comfort, try some recliners and ask for more information on your favourites.

  5. Protect your investment
  6. While everything comes with a standard manufacturers guarantee which vary from one year to five years, it’s worth asking about Premier Care too. Our excellent cover plan will protect your new furniture from accidental damage including spills, stains, tears and scratches. It’s well worth the extra cost to relax and enjoy your new furniture, worry-free.

Upholstery Care

With a little care and attention, your beautiful new upholstery will be attracting admiring glances for many years to come. Here’s how to keep it looking as good as new.

On Delivery

Before your furniture is delivered, please clear enough space for our delivery team to manoeuver it safely into your room.

Once you have accepted your furniture and all the packaging has been removed, take a few minutes to inspect it. Make sure you are completely satisfied before the delivery team leaves.

If you have wooden floors, use a protective felt on the feet of your new furniture to prevent scratching.

If your new sofa or chair has a recliner mechanism, always leave enough room for it to work. Don’t worry if it seems stiff at first, it will loosen over time.

Leather furniture may appear flat and creased when removed from packaging. Use the palms of your hands to smooth the cushions and leather; once air begins to circulate, they will fall into their original shape.

Day to Day Care

Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and use the products they recommend.

Try to plump and turn cushions daily. Some cushions lose their volume naturally over time. Daily plumping will help them last longer.

Remove dust weekly with your vacuum’s upholstery or drape attachment. Try to avoid brushing fabric covers, as that can damage the pile.

Have fixed cover fabric suites professionally cleaned at least once a year.

Make sure all covers on loose cover suites are cleaned at the same time to prevent colour variations.

If you spill something on your upholstery, blot up the excess immediately. Try to avoid detergents, which may damage the fabric. If you have purchased Premier Care, contact them as soon as you can.

If you have any doubts about how to care for your furniture and can’t find instructions from the manufacturer, please call our store for help.

Making It Last

Try to keep your furniture away from direct heat or air conditioning.

Light affects the colour of fabrics and leather; avoid overexposure to sunlight if you don’t want your furniture to fade.

Open and close recliner mechanisms with care and never force them.

To keep leather sofas looking new, regularly wipe them with a slightly damp cotton cloth and a mild soap.

Try not to leave newspapers lying on your suite; ink can stain the cover.

If you’ve got a light coloured suite, in particular pale leather, be aware that colour from denim jeans or non-colour-fast dark clothing can transfer to your furniture and cause discolouration.

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Queenstreet Furnishings, Church Road, Alphington, Exeter, Devon, EX2 8SW

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